Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who took office in 2013, didn't reveal a lot about the yet to be launched cryptocurrency named "Petro", or how the country would go by developing and distributing it but did proclaim "the 21st century has arrived!" He said that Venezuela will develop a cryptocurrency that is backed by gas, diamond reserves, gold, and oil.
The currency would help Venezuela "to advance in monetary sovereignty, carry out its financial transactions to overcome the financial blockade", according to Maduro.
In his words, "This will allow us to advance toward new forms of worldwide financing for the economic and social development of our country".
Still, the announcement highlights how sanctions enacted this year by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration are hurting Venezuela's ability to move money through global banks. Venezuela, as covered by CCN, has been ravaged by economic problems caused by hyperinflation and government failures.
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Venezuela's real currency - the bolivar - is in freefall, with inflation running at 4,000% and the country running out of basic food and medicine. Compliance departments in the USA have been scrutinizing transactions related to Venezuela.
Opposition leaders blasted the announcement, saying it needed congressional approval, while others doubted it will ever see the light of day in an economy with a dim outlook on its horizon, Reuters reported.
According to Business Insider, this move is taking place against a sharp rise in the cost of the bolivar against the US dollar and weeks after the government issued a new 100,000-bolivar note.
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his weekly radio and TV broadcast on December 3, 2017.
Maduro's administration does not have a brilliant history in financial policy.